SHENANDOAH — Creston/O-M removed itself from the drama and intrigue of the battle for second place, with a dominating performance at the Class 2A sectional wrestling tournament here Saturday.
The Panthers advanced 12 of 14 wrestlers to district competition Saturday at Atlantic, including eight champions. The two wrestlers not advancing each finished third as the Panthers amassed 283 points.
Clarinda and Atlantic tied for second with 214 points each, with Clarinda advancing eight wrestlers and Atlantic six. Red Oak advanced the other two wrestlers.
The top two teams advance to Tuesday’s dual regional meets in a quest for qualifying for the dual state tournament Feb. 19. Atlantic was awarded the second spot in a criteria tiebreaker.
Since there were no athlete or coach misconduct penalties against either team Saturday, it came down to most matches won.
“We had 11 first-round byes, and you don’t get a match victory for those, so that hurt us,” Clarinda coach Josh Porter said.
The Trojans finished the day with 20 total contested match wins compared to Clarinda’s 16.
All of the rated wrestlers in the Shenandoah sectional advanced as champions, except at 120 pounds, where two were pitted in the finals. And, because of that competition, it’s a weight where a returning state qualifier, Panther sophomore Wyatt Thompson, did not advance.
Fifth-rated Blake Luna of Clarinda beat No. 4 Dillion Cox of Atlantic 3-1 for the sectional title. Cox then beat Thompson 7-1 in the wrestleback for true second after Thompson won by fall in the consolation round. Luna pinned Thompson in 1:17 in the semifinals.
“We knew we’d need a major upset,” Creston/O-M coach Darrell Frain said. “We thought maybe how the wrestlebacks were going that we might have a chance. That (Cox) is the kid who beat him at state. Him and Luna will be high placewinners at state.”
The other state-rated wrestlers emerging as champions Saturday were No. 3 Darrian Schwenke of Atlantic at 126, No. 6 Chase Shiltz of Creston/O-M at 145, No. 2 Trevor Frain of Creston/O-M at 170, No. 7 Seth Maitlen of Creston/O-M at 195, No. 9 Tyler Christensen of Atlantic at 220 and No. 10 Dakota Calfee of Clarinda at 285.
Other Panther champions were Kruz Adamson at 113, Spencer Wray at 132, Joey Huntington at 138, Gavin Leith at 152 and Adam Baker at 182.
Advancing in second place were Brody Frain at 106, Alex Fargo at 126, Tayler Pettit at 160 and Kadon Hulett at 220.
Frain and Fargo won wrestleback matches for true second after losing in the finals, without a previous match against consolation winners Nate Hoyt of Shenandoah and Nick Rounds of Missouri Valley, respectively.
Frain dominated his wrestleback match, winning by fall in 3:11 after building a 7-0 lead.
“He was a two seed, but both the three and four seeds had him on his back during the year, so you never know in those situations,” coach Frain said.
Fargo had coach Frain leaping high in celebration, as well as his teammates, with a sudden change in momentum in his wrestleback match.
Roberts had secured his second takedown for a 4-0 lead on Fargo, who seized an opening to reverse into a pinning hold in the second period for a fall in 3:01. He said he thought of former teammate Dalton Hribal, who was killed in an auto accident last season.
“I heard everyone screaming, ‘how bad do you want it?’ I thought about my buddy, who passed away last year,” Fargo said. “I hit my fireman’s move, put him on his back, and squeezed as hard as I could! Luckily, I got him.”
It was Creston/O-M’s last victory of the day, and perhaps the most satisfying.
“He got him on a nice move to turn him on his back,” Frain said. “He was outworking him there at the end.”
Besides the third-ranked Schwenke, the district will have No. 8 Dylan Forkner of Greene County at 126.
There were numerous other highlights.
Adamson spent little time on the mat, cruising by falls in 20 seconds and 1:21 at 113.
Wray beat Red Oak’s Tanner Mertz for the third time in three weeks, and all were wild matches. This time, Wray ended up on top in a 7-5 decision on the strength of a 5-0 lead in the opening period.
Likewise, Huntington had another close match with Clarinda’s Trey Stickler in the 138 finals, controlling a 3-0 decision.
Ninth-ranked Tommy Bradshaw of Greene County is matched up with Huntington in the district. Wray will have No. 9 Alexander Schmitz of Kuemper in his weight bracket.
Shiltz, a freshman on the rise in the state outlook at 145 pounds, had a 40-second fall in the semifinals before decking Atlantic’s Reid Nichols in 1:26 in the finals. Coach Frain said the competition level will rise this week with Kuemper’s 10th-ranked Jared Eischeid and Harlan’s Brogan Kelly at the district meet.
Only two of the three can advance to state. Shiltz was the conference champion.
“He will have tough matches next week,” Frain said, “but he’s been doing a good job of going out and doing what he needs to do.”
Leith, recovering from a shoulder injury, has now beaten Clarinda’s Luke Strong three weeks in a row during his comeback. This time it was a 4-3 decision after getting a nearfall for a 4-2 lead in the second period. He held off Strong’s takedown attempts in the final seconds.
“He’s in a tough district and will have to continue to wrestle well,” Frain said. “Strong is a solid wrestler. The Perry kid was ranked earlier in the season, and Chase beat the Greene County kid (10th-ranked Jeremy Scheuermann) at our tournament. But he can do it.”
At 160 pounds, Pettit was the second seed and won a crucial 3-2 decision over Jacob Johnson of Atlantic in the semifinals. J.J. Clark then beat him 10-4 in the finals, but with Johnson winning by fall in the consolation round, there was no wrestleback and Pettit was runner-up.
“We knew what that semifinal match meant,” Frain said. “It was like when we wrestled him at conference. It was a battle.”
Trevor Frain, rapidly developing a reputation for quick falls — including a five-second pin that’s believed to match a state record — kept it going Saturday with pins in 27 and 49 seconds. Coach Frain cautioned that his second-ranked son won’t have it so easy farther down the tournament road.
“We just have to make sure we keep testing him in the (practice) room,” coach Frain said.
On a roll
Baker had never won a tournament title, but now has two in a row after the conference and sectional titles at 182. He outscored Clarinda’s Cain Johanns 11-6 in Saturday’s title match.
“He had the cradle in to get a good lead,” Frain said. “He just needs to keep it going.”
Maitlen won by two falls at 195, pinning Clarinda’s Christian Lauritsen in 3:49 in the finals. Lauritsen came into the match with a 38-10 record.
“Lauritsen is a really tough wrestler and Seth just dominated him,” Frain said. “That was good to see.”
Cale Stork of Harlan is ranked just in front of Maitlen in what could be an interesting district matchup.
Hulett was pinned by the rated Christensen of Atlantic in the 220 finals after winning by fall in 5:40 against Clairnda’s Brook Stephens in the semifinals. Stephens won the consolation match, removing any wrestleback worries for the Panther freshman.
“I’m not sure it was his best wrestling, but nobody cares what it looks like if you’re still wrestling next week!” Frain said.
Third-ranked Dallon Bendorf of Harlan joins Atlantic’s Christensen and Hulett at the district meet.
The Panther coach also praised the efforts of freshman Cody Tanner scoring points as the replacement for heavyweight Jake Gutschenritter, who could be eligible for state duals if the team qualifies.
“Tanner has filled in just fine,” Frain said. “He’s definitely gotten better and helped us. Jake has not missed a practice. His hard work could pay off if we can get to state.”
Class 2A Sectional
Team standings (district qualifiers) — 1. Creston/O-M (12) 283; *2. Atlantic (6) 214; 3. Clarinda (8) 214; 4. Red Oak (2) 97; 5. MIssouri Valley (0) 93; 6. Shenandoah (0) 83.
* — Second place on tiebreaker criteria, most matches won.
106 — Champ: Carter Cox (Atl) dec. Brody Frain (C/O-M), 2-1. Conso: Nate Hoyt (Shen) dec. Noah Donahue (Clar), 11-7. Wrestleback: Frain (C/O-M) pinned Hoyt (Shen), 3:11.
113 — Champ: Kruz Adamson (C/O-M) pinned Dakota Petty (RO), 1:21. Conso: Dakota Foster (Clar) major dec. Colby Sorensen (Atl), 10-2. No wrestleback.
120 — Champ: Blake Luna (Clar) dec. Dillion Cox (Atl), 3-1. Conso: Wyatt Thompson (C/O-M) pinned Jake Kyle (MV), 1:46. Wrestleback: Cox (Atl) dec. Thompson (C/O-M), 7-1.
126 — Champ: Darrian Schwenke (Atl) pinned Alex Fargo (C/O-M), :33. Conso: Nick Rounds (MV) by forfeit. Wrestleback: Fargo (C/O-M) pinned Rounds (MV), 3:02.
132 — Champ: Spencer Wray (C/O-M) dec. Tanner Mertz (RO), 7-5. Conso: Jake Johnson (Shen) dec. Marshall McDermott (Atl), 12-7 OT. No wrestleback.
138 — Champ: Joey Huntington (C/O-M) dec. Trey Stickler (Clar), 3-0. Conso: Austin Williamson (Atl) dec. Logan Roberts (Shen), 4-3. No wrestleback.
145 — Champ: Chase Shiltz (C/O-M) pinned Reid Nichols (Atl), 1:26. Conso: Josh McIlnay (MV) pinned Kollyn Buch (Clar), 2:49. No wrestleback.
152 — Champ: Gavin Leith (C/O-M) dec. Luke Strong (Clar), 4-3. Conso: Zac Stork (Atl) major dec. Thomas Peasley (MV), 14-3. No wrestleback.
160 — Champ: J.J. Clark (Clar) dec. Tayler Pettit (C/O-M), 10-4. Conso: Jacob Johnson (Atl) pinned Scott Hastings (Shen), 5:38. No wrestleback.
170 — Champ: Trevor Frain (C/O-M) pinned Dusty Swindler (Clar), :49. Conso: Drake Roller (Atl) pinned Winston Veatch (MV), 1:02. No wrestleback.
182 — Champ: Adam Baker (C/O-M) dec. Cain Johanns (Clar), 11-6. Conso: Jacob Brandt (MV) dec. J.D. Lewis (Shen), 4-2. No wrestleback.
195 — Champ: Seth Maitlen (C/O-M) pinned Christian Lauritsen (Clar), 3:49. Conso: Christian Terry (RO) dec. Keagan Hosfelt (Atl), 8-4. Wrestleback: Lauritsen (Clar) pinned Terry (RO), :47.
220 — Champ: Tyler Christensen (Atl) pinned Kadon Hulett (C/O-M), 1:37. Conso: Brook Stephens (Clar) pinned Felipe Ramirez (RO), 1:28. No wrestleback.
285 — Champ: Dakota Calfee (Clar) pinned Jezidiah Phippen (Atl), 4:56. Conso: Cody Tanner (C/O-M) by injury default over Keaton Kephart (RO). Wrestleback: Phippen (Atl) pinned Tanner (C/O-M), :37.